|I discovered this list of suggestions by M Rabie M Akela on the May 18, 2011 LinkedIn Harvard Business Review discussion group. This is one of hundreds written in response to the question: How do you handle stress?
What was unique about this article was that the author was thinking of others and how to help them handle their stress by collaborative, servant leadership. In addition, this manager has knowledge of adult learning processes. Too much stress can stop employees like a brick wall. The stress of one impacts everyone on the team. Servant leadership of employees takes into account adult learning processes, stress points, and how perceptions impact the achievement of the task. This allows the manager to create a workable, shared task load in which no one is overly stressed. These are 6 steps to management.
I have taken the liberty of making some minor edits to English usage. This is clearly an experienced manager who not only has the task clearly in mind, but also a clear view of the human and technological support elements that must be considered. Recommended is listening first and organizing second, with task distribution, and follow up. Managers who understand that the capacity of one employee to deal with stress impacts everyone will wisely take steps to make sure that no one is overly burdened. This means that regardless of what a manager thinks that person should be able to handle, they have their own actual limits.
Here is the discussion submission from M Rabie M Akela:
|In my company, I always look into what affects the performance of my employees. I personally find that stress is acceptable, however applying more stress could lead to zero productivity. Too much stress brings employees to a wall of brick – no way of moving forward. It is important to mention that one stressed employee could cause others to stress as well and that is why stress management is required. Here are the necessary steps for all managers to take when productivity is affected by stress:
Step 1: Discuss. Allow some time to talk about the current situation with your employee. It is important to find out how stress is viewed, or defined, by every person. Every person has a limit to handling stress. Even further, discussing stress at work brings out many discoveries that are work related and not work related. Don’t be surprised, or shocked, to hear everything that goes around the coffee machine all at once. Be prepared to hear little problems being magnified (e.g. PC is running slow, printer keeps jamming, etc). Remember, you are talking to your employee to find out the reason behind lack of productivity caused by stress. You are looking for the problem(s). Therefore, you must stay focused. You must be a listener and wait for the right information to be delivered – and eventually the right information will be delivered.
Step 2: Identify. Now, you should have too much information ranging from social and workplace issues, chattered thoughts and incomplete ideas about work, a bunch of office gossip, and information that relates to the subject. You have to identify the problem that has caused productivity to crash. Once you identify the problem(s), you will realize and perhaps get an immediate, yet positive, reaction from your employee.
Step 3: Problem Breakdown. Breaking a problem requires different views and angles and perhaps more discussions with the people involved. You must decide where to start and identify the breakdown process, etc. After all, you should have multiple, smaller pieces (or tasks) to deal with. At this stage, your employee might fall into thinking that all these tasks are to be completed by her/him alone. You must immediately move to the following step, to distribute and allocate tasks.
Step 4: Task Distribution and Allocation. Now that you have multiple smaller tasks to handle, you might want to distribute and allocate work tasks to other people including yourself as a manger. It is also important to keep everyone involved including the stressed employee of yours. You might want to start with the easy tasks and have them done – this will build confidence and is considered a sign of progress.
Step 5: Follow up. You must always check on the status of the problem, get feedback, register completed tasks and identify remaining tasks. Most important, you must follow up and keep everyone updated. One thing that is important to mention when doing the follow-up discussions, is to try to bring up some of the topics mentioned in the initial discussion (from Step 1). You will find out that your employee might not even give much attention to what she/he brought up and perhaps avoid further discussion and that it when you move to Step 6. Otherwise, you might want to go back to Step 1.
Step 6: Combine and Deliver. Remember we broke the problem before? Well, someone has to put it all back together. When putting everything back, everyone will get the big picture. However, this time, the problem is much simpler and perhaps easier to handle by your employee. Stress is no longer an issue, and your employee is ready to handle the situation by her/himself.
6 Steps to Stress Management or Managing Employee Stress and Tasks Together(by M Rabie M Akela from Business Review discussion on LinkedIn)
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